tv European Journal PBS August 20, 2013 2:00am-2:31am PDT
captioned by the national captioning institute --www.ncicap.org-- >> hello, and a very warm welcome to "european journal." welcome to brussels. as usual, we have stories from all across the continent for you. here's a look at what's coming up today. young fighters, why belgian youth are leaving. new supplier. why lithuania wayne yans are hoping for cheap gas. first, we look at one of the implications of the syrian war for europe. the planned peace talks between
the syrian government and its opponents have been pushed back time and time again. they will probably not take place before october now, with both the syrian opposition and the international community divided over the future of the country. meanwhile, with every day of violence, hatred between those who support president assad and those who want to topple him continues to grow. thousands of islamists have also come into syria from outside to fight against assad's forces. among them radicalized young for example, a fundamentalist group in belgium has been recruiting dozens of youth in recent months. >> before he disappeared, brian destroyed pictures of himself. his mother has just a few left. this one, taken a month before her son vanished, shows the young man holding his niece in his arms. >> he disappeared in the middle of the night. i don't know why.
no goodbye, nothing. and for six months i haven't heard from him. it makes me so sad to lose my son like this, my only son, who i love so much. >> brian is now thought to be fighting in syria. he's one of some 80 belgians who have joined the islamist group. like more moderate syrian groups, they want to topple the assad regime. hundreds of young muslims from europe have followed its call. on this internet video brian is the youth who seems uncertain about where to put his gun before prayers start.
his mother showed us where it all started in the south of antwerp. this is where brian grew up as a catholic. his childhood revolved around school and soccer. some of the neighbors in the building were radical muslims. >> this is where my life's misfortune began, with that gang of [bleep] to live here. i hate those people, really. if i could, i would grab them with my hands and throw them down here, as simple as that. >> the people are from a group from belgium. in april it was raided by the police. its spokesman is now in jail. two years ago brian came under the group's influence.
she says she still doesn't know why. >> the belgian people would park here and behind there and talk to the boys. here and over there. >> a youtube video shows him at the edge of the basketball court. he spends an hour talk together the men, who listen with interest. the short-haired youth sitting next to him is brian. >> a muslim must be a practicing must little, not a theoretical muslim. we study and practice, and that is what we need now. we need a generation of soldiers. >> the syrian fighters are a problem for the muslim community in belgium. muslims feel they are being victimized because of a small radical minority. in fact, muslim communities first demanded action. they were sick of seeing youths
being indoctrinated. >> i believe those young men have no idea what damage they're doing to islam and muslims here who are the first victims. they are inciting hatred against muslims and they're making people afraid of islam and that's very bad for us and is making our lives more difficult. >> in march the belgian government set up a special task force bringing ministries and intelligent services together to tackle the problem of fighters in syria, how to stop the proselytizing, how to stop young people from going to syria and how to deal with militarized young men returning from the war, questions the interior minister was reluctant t' a mtiensional it's abo terrosm and about public order. but it'sobout runaway
minors who have been influend and who have to be protected and brought home. >> local antwerp politicians know many of the affected families. he has tried to take steps bore beiu >> back in 2007 i wrote a paper with 21 suggestions for what to do about the radicalization of youngsters. one of them was that we should train our own imams. but so far we don't have any such training program. >> she just wants her son back. she had already moved her family out of antrpaw from the islamists, and she still hopes her son will find his way back again. >> it's been six months since he's been away, and itill can't believe it.
sometimes when i go into the kitchen i have the impression that he's there. or is about to arrive at any moment. i hardly leave the house. i'm scared that he'll come home and i won't be there. >> the last she heard from brian was a message on facebook in april. in it he said he'd contact his family only if they converted to islam. >> in our summer series we travel to the most remote corners of our continent and occasionally it also becomes a bit of a journey back in time. s >> time has stood still in some ways on the irish island of tori. tourists o travel to the northwest of the country because of the legends for
which the island is known, such as the one about the kell particular who set off from tori to launch an attack on the islands. it adds to the charm and mystery of the island and most visitors do not want to leave tory without a special souvenir, a bit of clay. >> this soil is special. it's said that not a single rat has set foot on it. tory island has mice, but it's rat-free. you might think that's because the island is some 14 kilometers off the coast of county done gal in ireland in the atlantic -- done gallon in ireland in the atlantic. willie and patrick duggan are convinced it's because of the sacred earth from the grave of an unknown woman. >> i had to say a prayer with her. she was for rats and
everything. >> the saga about tory's soil is centuries years old. they say the bodies of six men and one woman were washed up one day and buried together in a mass grave. >> the woman was sitting there the next morning. and then they reburied her. and the next morning she was sitting up on top again. so they got the priest, and the priest was reading from a book and he said this woman is a saint. so we'll have to bury her over here where the cross is, and that's where we get the holy clay now. >> the clay has to be fetched by the eldest duggan family member to retain its rat-repellent properties, according to the legends, and that's because of a saints
highly revered in island, also known as st. columbo. >> when he first came to the islandthe island was all pagan, so he wasn't allowed to land on the island. so he asked if anybody would give him enough space to stand on, and it was a duggan that granted him that space. so that's how the duggans was nominated to pick up the clay. >> you'll have no trouble landing on tory these days. a ferry makes the crossing three or four times a day, weather permitting. most passengers are day-trippers who often arrive feeling a little queasy. and they get a personal welcome from the island's uncrowned king, patsy dan rogers. a man with no real power and no airs and graces.
>> so many people. i'd like to keep my feet on the ground and to be with the people. >> reason enough for the islanders to choose them as their king 20 years ago. the tradition lives on here in tory. his realm is small, only four kilometers by one kilometer in area, 130 people live here and a few dozen sheep on sacred rat-free soil. >> it is a powerful saying that there will be no money accepted. so the heirs of the duggan family can't accept any money. he's very good at that. he can't accept and he won't accept any money. but if anyone wishes to give, then that's ok. >> we'll never know just how many glasses of guinness have passed hands over the years. certainly many irish continue to swear by tory earth.
>> first of all, you have to bless this earth, and then you put a gun at the four corners of the house, that far-away corner and in the back. >> he always has big bag of tory soil. he had a rat problem until he scattered the sacred soil. >> once they come across that, they will not be back again. >> soil with magic properties? >> i believe in it totally. you have to believe in it. >> more tourists who believe in the island's sacred soil would be very welcome here. work is very thin on the ground and few put out to sea these days the many people here thing that the fishing quotas imposed on islands when it joined the e.u. in 1973 were too strict. children growing up here have
few job prospects. anton tries to make ends meet by painting rather than fishing. >> half the population moved away, and then people started to -- the people started with their own art exhibition. we went to scotland and to dublin and tried to remain, you know, on the island. but there's always something. there's always been something. it must be somebody from above, you know. there's always been somebody, you know. ♪ >> the myth of sacred soil doesn't quite square with catholic doctrine. but even the local priest has come to terms with it.
>> i know for a fact there's no rats. i have no superstition, i believe in god, funny enough, being a priest, it comes in handy. if that gets people feeling safe on their boats and keeps our island free from rats, that's good. >> disbelief is perilous. legends has it that a lighthouse keeper tried to bring rats to tory and died the next morning. >> the e.u. is governed by its own set of rules, as we all know, and one of them is that every six months a different country takes on the presidency of the block. at the moment it's lithuania, which has the rotating presidency. lithuania is a relatively young e.u. member state and more than 20 years after it left the soviet union the country is still dependent on russia.
to this day russia remains the sole supplier of gas and electricity to lithuania. often at prices that are even higher than western europe. but lithuanians hope to change that with the help of e.u. legislation. >> she is at wit's end. she's unemployed and can barely afford to make herself a cup of tea. she gets 202 euros a month, not nearly enough to survive in lithuania, and more than half of that, 115 euros, goes to pay the gas bill. >> i think these high prices are russia's way of getting revenge because we were the first country to declare independence from the former soviet union. now they're punishing us for it. it's terrible. every country should be treated the same. why does lithuania have to pay so much more for gas than elsewhere? >> still relief could be on the
horizon for ruta and lithuania's three million resident. they've placed their hopes on a massive floating gas terminal called independence. it was launched from south korea in may. this animation shows just how it will work. starting in october of next year the completed natural gas terminal will be anchored in the lithuanian port. once a month a tanker will offload the liquefied gas to the terminal providing a much cheaper supply of energy. getting the gas from the terminal to the people is no easy feat. but lithuania's energy ministry says fundsing from the european union has made it possible. >> you just can't say enough about the support of the european union in developing the infrastructure. without a gas distribution network energy independence in lithuania would be impossible.
>> up until now a company has been responsible for lithuania's gas distribution system. its biggest shareholder is the world's largest gas producer. the russian energy giant was able to maintain a monopoly on the country's gas supply until this august when a lithuanian company took over control. that's thanks to the e.u.'s third energy package. the legislation forbids gas companies from operating both distribution and transport networks, preventing energy giants from dominating the european market. but that's rankled many in moscow. at a brussels summit in early 2011 the russian president, vladimir putin, sent the first warning shot across the bow. >> this so-called third energy package is very damaging to our energy companies. that's a fact, especially
because it's de facto and an expropriation of our property. >> but the e.u.'s energy department in brussels doesn't seem concerned about putin's remarks. >> we can't make exceptions for russian monopolies. if they want to take advantage of all the benefits our internal market provides, they have to abide by the same rules that our companies do. and in the long term, i think that view will prevail and everything will go back to normal. >> but not everyone is optimistic that moscow will go along. in 2006 lithuania decided to sell its oil refinery to poland, angering russia, which was in the running to buy the facility. moscow cut off crude oil shipments to the refinery overnight claiming that the pipelines were in need of
renovation. now, seven years later, not a single drop of oil runs through that pipeline named friendship. ruta shivers in her apartment, even though it's high summer. the prefab building where she lives has no insulation. she's managed to pay her energy bills so far. >> life here is hard. the authorities kicked my neighbor out of her apartment because she couldn't pay the heating bills anymore. if the prices stay this high, many more people will have to leave their apartments, too. >> ruta isn't alone. lithuanians pay at least 35% more for gas than german customers. but she's hoping that the new gas terminal will start delivering affordable energy next year. >> breaking free and establishing a sovereign
identity are ever present issues in former yugoslavia. not even 20 years ago ethnic groups there were at war. serbs, bosnians and croats. as yugoslav ya broke apart, new states were created. one of them was herzegovena. the serbian minority there was given quite some autonomy in a republic that was set up to guarantee peace between the different ethnic groups. but tensions between serbs and bosnians persist and one of the country's most famous sons has lately been adding fuel to the fire. >> he scheduled his appearance for the 28th of june, the big serian religious holiday, st. vidas day. he's known as a musician, actor and director. and as a gadfly in bosnia with its ethnic divisions, now he's stirring up trouble again.
in advise grad with a bridge over the drina, he's building a mini-serbia named after a nobel laureate. at the inauguration on june 28, he had only this to say -- >> this place is a bloody place and i was thinking that in the different periods, in the different reigns and the different conquests that this city and this area was not made in certainly architectural formality. >> it's a purely serbian culture that he is staging here. yet visegrad was once a melting until the balance cans war, 2/3 of the residents were muslims. now the few who remain are being confronted with the serbian orthodox church.
there's no mosque planned in the artificial town within a town. >> it's a tragedy how this internationally famous artist and famemaker is operating here. this project mocks our bosnian people who suffered most in the war. he is only pursuing his own political and business interests. >> economically speaking, the reconstruction is a successful tourist attraction. this narrow gauge railroad connects visegrad in bosnia with another town across the serbian border. he also built a village here i in one of his films. >> you see for yourself that this is the only tourist attraction here. it's so important for our weak economy. at least he is doing something. >> but no one seems to know if
he has really footed the $10 million euro bill for his projects as he claims, or whether he's sponsored by the serbian government. and that goes for a village known as the village of wood which he originally built as a film set. since 2002 he's also been living here as the only resident of this artificial town. famous faces from the u.s. and the e.u. have been painted as being in jail. in 2005 he was baptized into the serbian orthodox church, choosing the first name namana, although he's still none internationally by his muslim name, amir. he has been vocal about his affiliation with christianity. the church is a humble wooden structure, but in the small town it's a serbian holy place in kosovo. he was joined by his friend,
milo, at the inauguration. the president of the republic of serbia is an unabashed of serb nationalism in bosnia. >> bosnia and herzegovena will continue to suffer great deal. it may be perceived as a single country abroad, but not so much here. there's no consensus. it was never agreed that boss knee yaks, serbs and croats would live together after the war. we were forced to, so the international community shouldn't wonder that bosnia has such problems. >> and that there is a lot of frustration. frustration that's evident, even on a special holiday like this one. >> it's hard to live here. if only we could celebrate like this every day. >> we have lots of problems. our economy is a disaster. corruption is everywhere. we see that croatia is an e.u. member and serbia are beginning talks, but what will become of
bosnia? >> he says he's not so interested in political questions. >> i hope everything that is in the frame of europe needs to be europe somehow. it is europe. so the question of this formality is left to the politicians. i don't know. >> he says he sees himself as an artist providing music and films to a grateful audience, along with entire towns and cultures, he is trying to create his vision of the world, in doing so, he, too, is playing politics. ♪ >> and that report wraps editio journal." do join us again at the same time next week, if you can. we'd be delighted to have you with us. until then from all of us here in brussels, thanks for watching. bye for now. captioned by the national captioning institute --www.ncicap.org--